By Gregory Korte
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Because of pressure from civil rights activists, Cincinnati City Manager Valerie Lemmie has abandoned a plan to cut costs by eliminating the civilian director of the Cincinnati Police Academy.
Ted Schoch, a retired assistant police chief who runs the department's recruiting and training arm, was one of 27 city employees to have their jobs eliminated or outsourced as part of a $2 million cost-cutting proposal.
Under Lemmie's plan, Schoch's job would have been taken over by a sworn police captain.
But having a civilian in charge of police training was a key reform recommended by the U.S. Justice Department in 1998. The Justice Department mediator's report followed the 1997 police shooting of Lorenzo Collins, a mentally ill man wielding a brick.
Monday, some of the religious and civic leaders who worked on those reforms urged City Council members not to move backward.
"(Civilian) oversight is what we were trying to get, and participation from the community," said the Rev. Damon Lynch Jr., pastor of New Jerusalem Baptist Church in Carthage. "We've worked well with brother Schoch. I consider him a friend. I think he's made an impact, and I think someone with a civilian mind-set needs to stay there."
City Council is expected to take formal action to keep the job, but Finance Director William E. Moller told the Finance Committee Monday that there's no need. "It's done," he said.
City Council took action on the other 26 jobs in Lemmie's cost-cutting proposal last week. Savings will help the city keep the curbside recycling program this year.
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